September 23rd, 2019

Business Beat: Selling Medicine Hat to the world

By Jon Sookocheff on August 28, 2019.

Foreign direct investment to Canada rose 5% in 2018, to $877 billion. This was the largest increase in four years, with most of it originating from North America and Europe. Measurable growth took place in chemical and food manufacturing, as well as wholesale trade and agriculture, forestry and fishing.

A good percentage of that foreign direct investment to Canada started as a conversation within Canada’s consular network. Companies looking to do business in Canada will first connect with their local trade commissioner.

This is why Invest Medicine Hat maintains close contact with many key individuals located around the world. Not only do we post updates online or via snail mail, we make a point contacting trade commissioners and other international stakeholders via email, telephone and, when possible, by meeting in person.

From Denver to New Delhi, we like to ensure that when business expansion to Canada is the topic of discussion, the potential of investing in Canada’s sunniest city is top of mind. The more that our international partners know, like and trust us the more likely they are to refer potential investors our way.

We are in continuous dialogue with Invest Alberta and Alberta’s international offices located in the United States, Mexico, the United Kingdom, India, China, Korea, Japan, Taiwan and Singapore. These offices play a critical role in strengthening Alberta’s presence around the world. They are a one-stop shop for foreign companies looking to expand to Alberta.

We have been honoured to host Alberta’s Asian offices in Medicine Hat, and we look forward to hosting them again, should the opportunity present itself. Through Alberta’s international offices, we have received valuable introductions to potential investors.

We also maintain regular contact with the Government of Canada’s trade commissioner service. These 161 offices around the world are responsible for helping Canadian companies and organizations succeed globally, as well as facilitating investment to Canada.

We have had a fruitful relationship with Denver’s trade commissioner office, which represents Colorado, Kansas, Montana, Utah and Wyoming in the sectors of mining, oil and gas, aerospace and clean technology, agriculture and processed foods, and more. More recently we have established ties with New Delhi’s trade commissioner, and are exploring opportunities for entrepreneurs from that part of the world to invest in Medicine Hat.

Finally, we attend the Site Selectors’ Guild conference on a bi-annual basis. This invitational event is an opportunity to meet with the world’s foremost professional site selection consultants, including 45 guild members who provide location strategy to corporations across the globe and for every industry, sector and function. The time and expense of attending this event has resulted in connections with corporate location advisors are active on projects in Western Canada and around the world.

Foreign direct investment to Canada is growing year over year. When international business looks to invest in global expansion, it has the entire world to choose from. In order to narrow the search, business executives rely on a network of trusted advisors to assist with finding the right jurisdiction for them.

Which is why Invest Medicine Hat works to ensure advisors to business are aware of our city’s competitive advantages in agriculture, energy, manufacturing, business services, and so on. International outreach is an important part of the investment attraction process. It’s an even bigger part of selling Medicine Hat to the world.

Jon Sookocheff is the Interim CEO of Invest Medicine Hat. He can be reached at http://www.InvestMedicineHat.ca.

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